Owning and caring for a horse, while rewarding, can be a lot of work. You need to keep the horse happy, healthy and stimulated. One thing that meets all of those needs is a ready supply of hay. This hay needs to stay clean and off the floor and manufactured hay bags can be expensive. Luckily, you can make your own hay net out of twine for practically nothing.
Things You'll Need
- Bailing twine (made of synthetic fibers)
- Sharp knife or scissors
- Measuring device
- Lighter, match or other heat source
Measure and cut ten 7-foot lengths of twine. Also, cut three 4-foot lengths of twine. You'll use the 7-foot lengths to make the body of the hay net, while you'll use the 4-foot lengths to create a drawstring to close the top of the hay net.
Form the bottom of the hay net. Tie the ten 7-foot lengths together in one overhand knot 5 inches from the end of the lengths. Pull each length individually to ensure it's tight and secure.
Tie your first row of knots. Divide the ten tied lengths of twine into five pairs. Measure 4 to 6 inches from the bottom knot and mark this length on each pair with a marker. At the marked spot, tie the two lengths of the pair together with an overhand knot. Repeat this for the other four pairs.
Begin the diamond pattern. Measure 5 inches below the knots you just made and mark on each of the ten lengths of twine. Separate each pair you used in Step 3, below the knots, and pair each length with the adjacent thread that you didn't tie it to in the last step. Tie these five new pairs together in the same way as you did in Step 3.
Continue to form the net by repeating the last step three more times, making each set of knots 5 inches below the last set. Periodically, spread out the net and look for any twine passing through the middle of the net. If there is none, you're correctly joining only adjacent threads.
Make the top drawstring loops in the sixth row. Pair the lengths of twine as if you were making another row. With the first pair, form a small loop. Using the twine below the loop, make another larger loop and push it through the smaller loop from the top down, until the larger loop is about 2 inches long. Tighten the smaller loop and secure it by forming a square not with the two free ends of the twine pair. Repeat with the other four pairs of twine lengths to form five loops. Trim the twine 2 inches from the loops and burn the ends of the twine to keep it from fraying.
Finish off the hay net. Braid the three 4-foot long lengths of twine to form the drawstring. Tie and burn each end of the braid. Feed the braid through the loops, fill your hay net with hay and pull and tie the drawstring. Hang your finished and filled hay net for your horse to enjoy.
Tips & Warnings
- Avoid natural fibers. They resemble hay and the horse may chew and ingest them. Using a brightly colored twine may also help your horse from mistaking the net for the hay.
- Hang your hay net high enough that your horse won't get her hoof or leg caught in it. Secure it with a slipknot or quick-release knot so to make sure it falls if your horse does get a leg or hoof caught.
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